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Atlético release official statement condemning racism at Madrid Derby

The club has offered its full cooperation to investigating authorities.

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid “strongly condemn” the racist chanting that took place outside the Cívitas Metropolitano on Sunday prior to a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid.

These chants provoke enormous repulsion and indignation. We will not allow any individual to hide behind our colors to utter insults of a racist or xenophobic nature. At Atletico de Madrid, we have zero tolerance for racism, our commitment to the fight against this social scourge is total, and we will not stop until we eliminate it.

Atlético further announced it will cooperate fully with Spanish authorities in finding the racist supporters, and once they are found, the club will move to revoke their memberships.

To this end, we have contacted the authorities to offer them our full cooperation in the investigation of the events that took place outside the stadium. We ask them to identify the people who participated to proceed with the immediate expulsion of those who are members of the club.

On Sunday, fans ostensibly affiliated with the right-wing Frente Atlético racially insulted Madrid star Vinícius after an exhausting week-long buildup in local media. Other reporters at the game have said the chants continued inside the stadium while the derby was being played.

Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Club captain Koke had said “there would be trouble” if Vinícius scored at the Metropolitano, but the real outrage stemmed from Spanish agent Pedro Bravo’s appearance on tabloid program “El Chiringuito” — where he said the Brazil forward had to “stop playing the monkey” in reference to the player’s dance-filled celebrations.

Atlético’s statement Tuesday night sharply criticized the media climate leading up to the game.

Making clear once again our strongest condemnation of these events, which have no justification whatsoever, we believe that what has happened in the days leading up to the derby is unacceptable. Fans are asked for sanity and rationality, and during the week, professionals from different fields generated an artificial campaign, lighting the fuse of controversy without measuring the repercussions of their actions and manifestations.

What Atleti’s statement did not do is arrive in a timely manner, nor did it announce the complete expulsion of (and dissociation with) the radical Frente at all home matches. Leaders at Madrid and Barcelona dismissed their ultras groups years ago, but Atlético maintain a clandestine relationship with the Frente despite “officially” banning their members from the old Vicente Calderón in 2014.

However, Atleti’s statement ended with a firm rejection of the minority who decided to partake, actively or passively, in racist behavior that stained the club on Sunday — though many will say the rebuke does not go far enough, as the club’s problematic relationship with its most radical supporters is likely to continue.

The pain felt by the Red & White family for this event is enormous. We cannot allow anyone to link our fans with this behavior and question our values because of a minority that does not represent us. Our decision is firm and emphatic. We will not stop until we expel those involved from the Red and White family because they cannot be part of it.

You can read the full statement in English (linked above) or in Spanish here.